1 of 2


: a low vibratory murmur typical of an apparently contented or pleased cat


2 of 2


purred; purring; purrs

intransitive verb

: to make a purr or a sound like a purr
cars purring along the highway
: to speak in a manner that resembles a purr
: to speak in a malicious catty manner
purringly adverb

Example Sentences

Noun the soft purr of a car engine listened to the reassuring purr of the car engine Verb The cat was purring contentedly in my lap. The cars were purring along the highway. “You look tense. Let me buy you a drink,” he purred.
Recent Examples on the Web
The tone was set by the host, Jerrod Carmichael, who appeared in a series of smashing outfits and opened the show with some hard truths, delivered with a Cheshire Cat purr. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 11 Jan. 2023 The primary plot driver of The Batman is the Riddler, a mysterious serial killer terrorizing Gotham City and leaving cryptic messages for Jeffrey Wright to read aloud in a befuddled yet sultry purr. Vulture, 18 Apr. 2022 But lions, tigers, and jaguars can’t rouse the same rasps; scientists have not documented any cats that can both purr and roar. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2022 Here are a variety of gifts to make cats - and their owners - purr with joy. Lois Alter Mark, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 And to hear and see him—singing in his incomparably expressive purr, hitting one of his famously sweet high C’s on the trumpet, dishing the dirt with amiable savoir faire on a TV talk show—was to love him. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 28 Oct. 2022 For the cat people in your lives, this book is purr-fect. Karen Cicero, Good Housekeeping, 20 Oct. 2022 The Durango's 475-hp 6.4-liter V-8 snarls to life like a lion, whereas the MDX's 355-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 awakens with a demure purr. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 30 Aug. 2022 The symphony of sounds — a roar, a purr, a putter — each engine creates. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2022
Trust us; this is an environmentally worthy project since the existing buildings are too leaky and wheezy to be made efficient, but the new ones will purr greenly along. Curbed, 26 Jan. 2022 But alas: Although cats can purr at frequencies that overlap with those used in vibration therapy, none of the research on these treatments has actually involved felines. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2022 As smaller cats, clouded leopards don’t purr or roar. Dallas News, 12 Sep. 2021 Foreign investors and other business folk, Mr Xie purred, had no reason to panic. The Economist, 28 May 2020 Purr long, purr short, and kind of work them together. Matthew Every, Outdoor Life, 1 May 2020 More than 500 cars, trucks and other things that go vroom (or purr, in the case of the electric cars) will be on display, including Ford's new all-electric Mustang Mach-E, along with classic cars, special events and stuff for kids to do. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Feb. 2020 No matter what the weather is, the last weekend of this month promises to be purr-fect. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, 3 Jan. 2020 The gathering storm: In one of the world’s most unequal societies, a fashion designer's sewing machine purrs. Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic, 14 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purr.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History




First Known Use


circa 1616, in the meaning defined above


1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of purr was circa 1616

Dictionary Entries Near purr

Cite this Entry

“Purr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purr. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a low murmuring sound of a contented cat
purr verb

More from Merriam-Webster on purr

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